Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams has been voted the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year. 

The Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award is voted on by the league’s 30 head coaches. The honor comes to Williams the same week that the Suns are gearing up for their first playoff appearance in 11 years. 

“I hold the utmost respect and admiration for the coaches in this league, so to be recognized by my peers is an incredible honor,” Williams said in a statement. “…To be recognized in Mr. Goldberg’s honor is special. He had a unique and kind manner, and cared for all of the coaches deeply. His suspenders and bow ties were always on point.”

Under Williams, the Suns posted a 51-21 regular-season record, the NBA’s second-best record, and secured the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. In a shortened season, Phoenix’s winning percentage of .708 was the fifth best in franchise history.

“This award is far bigger than myself and is a result of the work put in everyday by our players, coaching staff, and the entire Suns organization under the leadership of (General Manager) James Jones and (owner) Robert Sarver,” Williams said.

“This has been a unique year in its challenges, and I am grateful for the tremendous spirit with which our players and staff have approached each day to make this a special season — Everything Counts!”

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Williams arrived in Phoenix in May of 2019, after the team went 19-63. His first season ended with the Suns’ 8-0 NBA Bubble run, getting the Suns to 34-39. 

“Congratulations to Monty Williams on this most deserving recognition,” Dallas Mavericks coach and NBCA President Rick Carlisle said in a statement. “In just two years, Monty has taken the Suns from a 19-63 team to the second-best record in the NBA this season and the Suns’ first divisional title since 2007. To win the vote of our peers makes the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award one of the most meaningful in all of pro sports.”

Per a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the other coaches that received votes were Washington’s Scott Brooks, Denver’s Michael Malone, Atlanta’s Nate McMillan, Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers, Utah’s Quin Snyder and New York’s Tom Thibodeau.

Goldberg was a long-time executive director of the NBCA. The award is separate from the Red Auerbach Trophy, given to the NBA’s Coach of the Year. The NBA will announce that award during coverage of the 2021 NBA playoffs.

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Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 480-356-6407. Follow her on Twitter @kfitz134.

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